6 tips for avoiding impulse purchases

When a patio set that is on clearance with a 60 percent discount is staring you in the face, it is hard to say no.

Sure, you only stopped in the store to pick up new bath towels and a replacement shower head, but how can you pass up such a great deal? If any of this sounds familiar, you may be one of many consumers who need help curbing their urge to impulse shop.

If you're looking to protect the money in your checking account from attractive sales and other offers, follow these six tips:

  1. Set a wait period before you buy. Do you have impulse buys that you regret? One way to put an end to this process of buying on a whim and hating the item later is to create a mandatory wait period. Whether an hour, week or month, this period will determine how long you have to consider the item before buying it.
  2. Choose your shopping buddies carefully. It's hard to avoid impulse shopping when you're out with a friend who has money to spend. Despite what your online checking account balance says, you may be tempted to shop. If you have friends that encourage you to burn a hole in your pocket, you may want to head to the store with someone else.
  3. Unsubscribe from email offers. Your favorite shoe store just emailed you a coupon for 25 percent off when you buy online. Rather than clicking the link to the store's website, hit the "unsubscribe" button. Repeat this step for all retailers that send you offers.
  4. Pay with cash. When you pay with cash, you can physically see your money dwindle as a result of impulse buying. Before you shop, withdraw only enough cash to pay for the items on your list.
  5. Don't engage in "retail therapy." After a long or upsetting day, it can be nice to treat yourself to a new electronic or piece of clothing as a means of feeling better about life's troubles. However, this strategy can make it easy to go overboard. Instead, chat with a friend, go for a walk or take a warm bath to relax.
  6. Budget for small impulse purchases. Reserve some money to account for those times when you get a sudden urge to buy snacks or rent a movie. When these small impulse buys are part of your budget, you won't be taking money away from other areas.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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